Saturday, February 19, 2011

Technophobia

I was just going to write an Ode to my GPS, but I do have some reservations.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not a Luddite. I have even just changed the Sim card in my phone without calling my children, but I do have niggling doubts about total reliance on same. 

Not only does technology change very quickly, but what if someone moves our satellites slightly to the left, blocks the signal or they get hit by a comet or there is the tiniest cosmic hiccough? Or our batteries go flat? I had reason to ponder this only the other night. 

Having just scanned a lot of the documents I thought I might want to keep, I found myself unable to access any files for twenty four hours because of a minor electrical fault in the house. What happens when I can’t afford the power bill, or the internet connection, or I lose the whole computer? And I did wonder how many electricians I'd be able to ring before my mobile died, because I wouldn't have been able to recharge it.
Although I now have back -up for the computer, I dislike this utter dependency. Having grown up in those dark pre -Windows days when people used punch cards and you had to write your own code, I don’t just want to be a tool -user, I want to know how it all works and what alternatives we might use if the system fails.

I'm not throwing out my Atlas and Road Maps and I am rather sorry now that I threw out my son’s  Scout manual on Semaphore and Morse code.  Perhaps somewhere in this wide world, or even in several places as we do with seed banks, we should keep hard copy - books and manuals (and spare parts!) - of how all this was done, before we relied on computers and technology to do everything.

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